By Susanna Mills
It’s window shopping only for mountain bicycles in North Wahroonga.
Opened late 2011, Jubes was the first purpose built ‘MTB park’ in Sydney. Set upon a dramatic, high ridgeline at the foot of Golden Jubilee Oval, perfect landscapes for incredible mountain bicycling experiences stretch as far as the eye can see…
Recognising the distances a bicycle can efficiently and silently cover and the variety of experiences intrinsic to offroad cycling, Jubes was originally planned, in 2011, to be much more extensive than it is in 2021, with singletrack mtb trails extending to Clissold Quarry and the Grosvenor Trail. But, those plans were vehemently opposed by groups making outrageous claims that ‘misuse of bushland, vandalism, drug abuse, extreme noise and parking chaos will occur from a dirt bike arena.” So, approved bicycle trail project plans were severely curtailed to an exposed pocket of ridgeline wasteland with a pathetic 800m of flow trail and no jumps. Consequently, by alienating the Greater Sydney mountain bicycling community, Jubes ‘mtb park’ has gradually been abandoned by them for nicer areas which better facilitate mountain bicycling.
Lingering on in 2021 as a neglected, but officially sanctioned MTB ‘park’ Jubes still has tiny slices of dirt track for riders to practise skills. However those out for an actual mtb ride, will quickly get bored doing laps here. And anywhere off this ridgeline it’s the usual lazy Sydney fob-off where you’re mandated to ride your bicycle along difficult, tedious firetrails, constructed for 16,000kg+ land management vehicles, not 10kg bicycles. Unless, that is, you perhaps stumble upon the only other ‘sanctioned’ mtb trail- the critically endangered Warrimoo mtb downhill- which is an underwhelming 600m long and far too difficult to be enjoyed by the average rider. More purpose-built trails from Jubes ‘Bike Park’ to enjoy bicycling with children, family and friends in the lovely bushlands of 2076, sure would have been nice over the last decade…
Jubes Bike Park entry points still feature nicely illustrated, informative park maps. Surfaces here are hard-packed clay, reconstructed in 2013 by Synergy Trails from the original 2011 works, which were poorly constructed, and washed away.
The token mtb riding areas of 2076 consist of:
1) A worn down, overgrown North-Shore style skills area replete with three challenging skinnys and a wall plank ride.
2) A flow trail which is but a fleeting joy to ride, because it’s only 800m long when it should be 8000m long.
3) A dirt pump track- so badly rounded out that regrettably, you can’t really pump it. • Park off Esk Street, past the SES Offices, to easily access Jubes.
• Parents and guardians who don’t ride; for a Jubes Bike Park visit remember to… slather on sunblock, bring water, a chair (no benches for you here) a huge hat and/or a shade shelter because in ten years, no shade trees have ever been planted here. Up the hill at the ball sports ovals there is, of course, abundant shade, water, public toilets, seating and more.
• Warrimoo downhill: Professionally built by Dirt Art, the trail is broken up into sections, consisting of a small beginners loop at Warrimoo Oval and a 600m one-way black diamondrated downhill trail with an associated return climb route. Skilled and experienced riders only.